I want to introduce you to my fiancé, Daniel Bell.
He is a most wonderful man, and it's almost funny just how perfect he is for me. It's funny in the I'm-laughing-because-my-mind-is-blown-and-if-I-really-start-telling-you-how-I-feel-I'll-probably-cry kind of way.
When I consider Daniel and how the LORD has been seamlessly weaving our hearts together, I get a special little glimpse into how well HE knows me. HE truly does give good gifts, and this is one HE has been preparing for quite a while. (We just didn't know it.)
Daniel and I met almost two years ago on a ski trip with the young professional group at our church.
I remember the official meeting moment quite clearly: I needed someone to ride the ski lift with me. He was behind me. He had an awesome beard. He seemed super nice. And he didn't have anyone to ride with either. Easy peasy.
Now normally I'm really awkward around attractive guys, and I would have been intimidated, but I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, just a ski-lift buddy (I was kinda talking to someone else at the time. Sort of. It was complicated.), so my normally outgoing self was free to ask him to ride with me. He was quiet. I was chatty. He didn't know who I was. I was secretly a little offended by that. He mentioned his niece, Allison, who was in the youth group. I, as one of her youth ministers at the time, totally knew who she was and rambled some cute little story about how wonderful she is. Then we got off the ski lift. And I'm pretty sure we didn't speak the rest of the trip. haha!
We may not have spoken, but I remember noticing him. It was all so off my radar that I didn't even realize I was noticing him. But I remember recognizing when he was around. I remember being disappointed he didn't end up on my van for the long ride back to Huntsville. And I remember completely and immediately disregarding such a thought.
What I didn't know is that I wasn't the only one who was faintly yet specifically aware of the other. He tells me that, for him, the first moment of connection came before the ski lift. I walked in the room, we made eye contact, and it was all over... Ha- okay just kidding. It wasn't quite that dramatic for him. But he did say that felt something when he looked in my eyes... (And now I'm blushing. Moving on.)
Our next encounter was a little over a week later.
It was a Monday afternoon, and I was getting ready to leave the office and get ready for my senior high girls to come over for our weekly Bible Study. The night before, the young pros had put on a special dinner for the senior adults at our church, a "senior prom" of sorts. There was a ton of food leftover and I happened to know where the extra desserts were tucked away, so I figured I would grab some out of the big fridge so that the girls could have a little treat at Bible Study.
I rushed into the big fridge (you know, the industrial sized ones that are the size of a room with a freezer-closet inside), and who did I run into (and maybe I mean that almost literally) but Daniel Bell. He was being a good citizen and servant and picking up the leftover foods to bring to the guys at His Way, a Christ-centered residential recovery program, where he works. I was stealing dessert. (Disclaimer: it wasn't stealing. I was completely allowed.) I felt like an idiot. But I played it off nicely, helping him carry all the food out to his truck. I may have felt dumb, but he says he remembers thinking that I was so sweet to help him.
From that point on, I'd see him at Bible class, but we never talked. It wasn't because I didn't want to, our paths just never seemed to cross. And again, he wasn't really on my radar. At least not consciously. But anytime one of the girls would mention his name, I remember saying, "Daniel Bell... he's real cute. And he's got an awesome beard!" And the words would always linger in my mind and I'd think to myself, "Man, I wish I knew him better..."